The Dunedin Wedding Vendor Guide

May 14, 2020

Ahhh, Dunedin. New Zealand’s home of hilltop castles, windswept clifftops and endless twilight nights. As a city, Dunedin is quirky, timeless and full of character – and its wedding vendors are no different. Passionate, welcoming and extremely knowledgeable, Dunedin’s wedding community is ready to work with you, and each other, to help make your wedding exactly how you want it (unless you want an outdoor wedding in June, they probably can’t do that).

 

In case you needed any more convincing, we chatted to a few of our favourite vendors about hidden gems, handy hints and favourite Dunedin wedding moments.

 

Swell Event Hire - Modern Furniture Hire, Vintage Soul

Tell us a little bit about your business?

Swell Event Hire was born out of a desire to help provide people with more beautiful hire options than what was currently available at the time.  We service the Dunedin, Southland and Otago regions.  Our bespoke hire aesthetic stems from a love of classic design, clean lines and functionality.  We’ll team original restored vintage with contemporary furniture to provide a look that is distinctly individual and unique.  We’re currently building our range and will be incorporating items that reflect our region and the unique requirements that our environment demands.  Dunedin has a reputation for casual sophistication and our range will reflect that.  Our own personal aesthetic also runs a little to the rock 'n' roll so don’t be surprised to see a mix of textures and contrasting pieces being incorporated to our range. The advantage of hiring from Swell is that you are able to hire furniture and styling items that are unlike products from any other company.

 

What can couples expect when working with you?

We pride ourselves on our professional, friendly service and going above and beyond to understand a client’s requirements and to bring these to life.  We ensure the process of working with us is seamless from start to finish making the entire process of planning a wedding that little bit easier.

 

We’ve got lots of tips and tricks up our sleeves to helping a client make the most of the space available to them whether it’s a blank canvas where they’re needing to bring in everything or it’s a city venue and they’ve got a particular style in mind that they want to create.  Our experience in working in unique spaces with un-uniform specs and dimensions gives us an appreciation of some of the logistical challenges a client may experience and we’ll help guide them through the process of overcoming obstacles to get to the outcome they’d like.  

 

Tell us about some of your favourite wedding moments?

All our weddings are special but we love when a client fearlessly has a vision and then pulls out all the stops for a spectacular result - like the gorgeous Marisse who’s mission was to transform her Dad’s farm shed into an amazing bohemian space for her 80 guests, or Hanna and Matas combining Lithuania and “Kiwi” perspectives to deliver a thoroughly modern take on botanical boho!

 

What do you look forward to most when working with couples?

We love the special connections that we form with our wedding clients and the journey that we take with them from our initial meeting, being introduced to families and friends and then setting up for their big day.  

Weddings are so personal and we consider it an absolute privilege to be asked to be part of someone’s big day.  I admit I do always feel a bit emotional (in a good happy way) after I leave the wedding setup!!  

 

What makes Dunedin a unique place to wed?

Dunedin has a wild rugged beauty that is hard to beat and everything is so accessible!! You can get married in a hilltop castle or get your photos taken on a windswept cliff tops and cross town in 15 minutes for your ceremony.

 

Favourite wedding venues or locations in Dunedin?

 Dunedin is starting to get more “blank” canvas venues which is amazing!  Some spaces that we love to work in include Ombrellitos which is a lovingly restored heritage building in the centre of Dunedin.  Ombrellitos is perfect for either a cocktail style or formal dining wedding, has lots of exposed brick and has that nice industrial look (where our furniture looks amazing!).  We also love AYU Dunedin (again in another heritage building) but perfect for smaller more intimate events and elopements.  We also love the Tautuku Fishing Club which is located in a rugged little inlet on the Otago Harbour.  This venue has lots of outdoor space as well as a large indoor area.   The “Cherry Walk” in the Dunedin Botanic Gardens – the prettiest place to get married in the Spring!

 

What’s something people might not know about Dunedin? What makes it special?

Dunedin is quirky, has a strong sense of history/amazing heritage buildings and we love it!

Dunedin has the most amazing long twilight nights – in summer it’s light till well after 10pm making for the best evening photo shots and for guests being able to linger outside that little bit longer.

 

Favourite local spots, hidden gems and favourite things to do in Dunedin?

Best dramatic photo and beach walk:

Tunnel beach – both an awesome walk (an easy down which tricks you as it’s a pretty steep uphill!) and a great spot for amazing photos.

 

Best fish and chips:

Best café! The name says it all – a Dunedin icon straight out of the 1950’s!

 

Best pint:

AlBar – can’t go past this awesome bar for a great pint on a Friday night

 

Tips for getting married in Dunedin?

Weather extremes are a factor all Dunedin couples need to be conscious of if planning an outdoor wedding - like it or not it can be 30 degrees in the morning and snowing in the afternoon! Make a plan A and a wet weather plan B that you’re comfortable with and stick to it without second guessing yourself or it will stress you. You’re not going to be able to control what Dunedin weather does so just plan for it and run with it – think about smart ways you can move things around if need be – can your wedding arch be moved inside, can lighting be on poles and moved inside – make sure you have blankets, outdoor braziers.  Dunedin can also have hot summer days so don’t forget umbrellas and lots of shade options as well.

Dunedin is a coastal city and this provides lots of opportunities for either incorporating this in to how you’d like your day to feel (Hanna and Matas botanical boho theme) or for getting photos taken in unique locations.

 

What would your dream Dunedin wedding day look like?

 Our “dream”wedding that we’d like to be involved in – we love when a client puts a fresh spin on a traditional concept.  We love anything coastal and it would be fantastic to have a marquee overlooking the sea where there is lots of opportunity to create different pockets of areas for guests to linger over the day.  Whilst the idea of a Dunedin winter wedding might not appeal to everyone there is a certain rugged romance about a windswept landscape and creating special spaces for family and friends to gather - getting snuggly around a fire, toasting marshmallows, hot mulled wine.  Styling and complimenting the setup using props with lots of texture – cowhide rugs, blankets, fur and velvet!

 

 

We Do Wedding Hire - Prop & Game Hire

 

 

Tell us a little bit about your business?

We are a Dunedin based business servicing the Dunedin and Otago Area. Specialising in props, lawn games and signage. We are a husband and wife duo, with Melissa a natural at creativity and organising and Patricks keen attention to detail we are a strong team.

 

After searching high and low for our wedding, we soon realised that props and games weren’t readily available in the Dunedin/Otago area and we set about seizing the opportunity, creating high quality games and props we were proud to have at our wedding. We are now very excited to be able to share these and many more of our products with others.

We would love to add something special to your big day from our ever-growing business, taking your vision and making it into a forever memorable reality.

 

Tell us about some of your favourite wedding moments?

From meeting our couples, to setting up and packing down, we love it all however, we absolutely LOVE getting to see the photos from their special day as we are not often part of their day like a celebrant, photographer or videographer etc so seeing their photos and when the email arrives from the newly married couple still buzzing from a great day with lovely feedback regarding our involvement and service.

 

Favourite wedding venues or locations in Dunedin?

This is such a tough question, when you get the chance to really look around and get to know Dunedin and all it has to offer, there are many places both big and small -  something for everyone. Glenfalloch Gardens is one of our all-time favourites (we were married here almost three years ago now and loved the all in one venue, stunning gardens and a stylish, modern reception area so maybe a little bias here…).

You can’t go wrong with getting your photos taken anywhere down the Otago peninsula, there are so many stunning stops with spectacular views.

Favourite local spots, hidden gems and things to do in Dunedin?

Argh…. Where to begin…. we love Dunedin and we feel it is slowly becoming a fun, quirky, cool little city. We are both huge foodies and love to try out new spots around Dunedin, a couple of our favourites at the moment would have to be Emersons for their beer and food (who doesn’t love a chilled beer?), Precinct Food, No.7 Balmac, Patties and Cream (an amazing food truck doing the BEST burgers you’ll ever taste, along with handmade ice cream – a match made in heaven) and not to forget the weekly famers market at the train station with exceptional produce, meat and baked goods!


And lastly… our amazing street art scattered all around the city! There is a free map that shows you all of the prominent pieces.

 

Tips for getting married in Dunedin?

Always have a plan B if you are planning an outdoor wedding, Dunedin weather is very unpredictable! Do your research, there are a number of stunning venues, big or small with various options available.

 

Frankly Faye - Wedding & Elopement Photographer

 

Tell us a little bit about your business?

I’m a Dunedin based wedding and elopement photographer running under the name Frankly Faye. I first started photographing people in love back in 2018 and haven’t stopped. It’s the best thing! I’ve always had a love for photography – right through high school then onto art school, now continuing on with post grad studies. A big love for alternative processes - just set up my own little darkroom at home.

 

What can couples expect when working with you?

Fun! I’m just another friend hanging out with you guys for the day. We laugh, we cry, we make stupid jokes. We just have a damn good time celebrating you both! People always worry about having their photograph taken, are nervous, don’t know what to do and I can promise by the end of the day you’ll be wanting to do it all over again!

 

What do you love about living and working in Dunedin? In particular, servicing the local wedding market?

Dunedin is such a friendly little community. Something I've really noticed after moving down here from the North Island nearly 7 years ago. Every couple/vendor I've met down here so far are so kind. It's definitely a special community and we have some fantastic local gems!

 

Tell us about some of your favourite wedding moments?

The great thing about photographing weddings is they all become your favourite moments. Every time I come home I end up telling my husband that, that wedding was the best ever and then go on to tell him about every little amazing thing that happened throughout the day. Some of my favourite moments that come to mind though are the human connection moments. Doing a shot of homemade plum vodka with wedding guests from Slovakia, receiving massive bear hugs and cheek kisses from not only one of my couples but the whole bridal party, getting to talk to super proud grandparents, having a boogie on the dance floor – always a great way to end the night!

 

 What do you look forward to most when working with brides, grooms and/or couples?

I love when the first email comes through and I can see how excited they are about the start of planning their most wonderful day. I love getting to read all about the two of them. How they met, what they love about each other, how the proposal happened, all the dreams they have so far for the day. My other favourite part is when I get to finally give them a big hug and say congrats after they are officially married. There’s always so much emotion floating around and it’s just so super special to have been able to witness it all.

 

Favourite local spots, hidden gems and favourite things to do in Dunedin?

One of my favourite places (you guessed it, its on the peninsula haha) is a little spot off the high cliff walking track. Massive boulders on top of a little hill with views down to sandfly bay. I love it there! We also got married at the top of Sandfly bay, it’s extra special. Lovers leap walk. Incredible views!

 

Beau - Couture Wedding Gowns

Tell us a little bit about your business?    

We design and handcraft couture wedding gowns. Each gown is a one-of-a-kind design inspired by the personality of the bride and the couples vision for their celebration.

Graduating with a 1st Class Honours Degree in Fashion Studies in 2007, Natasha’s debut collection was selected for the graduate catwalk show, London Fashion Week.This led to her first commission as a wedding dress designer. 

What can couples expect when working with you?

 The Couture Experience…

It is important to us that with every visit to the studio and though each step of the journey the bride feels ‘over the moon’ about her wedding gown.

What do you love about living and working in Dunedin? In particular, servicing the local wedding market?

 We love hearing about couples ‘love stories’. How they met and how they came to be…it's exciting to design someone a special garment for a moment in time they will always treasure. It is pretty incredible to be part of something that special.

You can reach anywhere within in Dunedin in about 10 minutes which is really handy for brides to plan for their wedding day from the local wedding professionals here.  

What do you look forward to most when working with brides, grooms and/or couples?

We love hearing about couples ‘love stories’. How they met and how they came to be…it's exciting to design someone a special garment for a moment in time they will always treasure. It is pretty incredible to be part of something that special.

Favourite local spots, hidden gems and favourite things to do in Dunedin?

Dunedin has some amazing and quirky street art on many of its historic buildings. We have made gowns for a few Brides who have had their wedding photoshoot in and amongst these art works. They make dramatic and memorable images.


Encore Events - Wedding & Event Planning

 

Tell us a little bit about your business?

The past 5 years Encore Events has grown far more quickly than I could have ever imagined. I originally started years ago in the Hotel Event Scene & Sporting Event Logistics and after taking a break I was asked to step in and help with the runway of a Wedding Expo. It all snowballed from there, I repurposed my skills and took on the challenge of wedding and corporate event planning on my own. 

I offer what I see is a helping hand, to encourage and be enthusiastic during the planning process. An honest and transparent approach and often reminding couples about what is important to them and keeping them focused on that. My team is amazing and of course, have their own strengths, I am so lucky to have found key people I can trust which in turn gives a certain sense of confidence for our clients. We are able to cover all bases from set up to staffing, from timelines to concepts and will soon include a range of hire and style items that will be launched on our website over the next month.


 What can couples expect when working with you?

Working with the bride and groom my main purpose is to listen to their ideas, their thoughts and their wishes respecting traditions and cultures to then help plan and design a wedding that feels authentic and is a true reflection of the couple. Our clients can trust that we have their best interest in mind, that we want their day to be everything they ever wanted and we will do our very best to make sure that happens. I personally love spreadsheets and organisation so timelines are huge for us to make sure to process runs on time for both the planning and the wedding day.


Favourite wedding venues or locations in Dunedin? 

Dunedin has a lot of old industrial buildings which give an epic backdrop to both the photography and to the vibe of the wedding. I am often walking past buildings and locations scoping out the space and then bringing these options back to my couples. I love small intimate weddings and they seem to be very popular in the past few seasons, often because of the small numbers, there are so many more options for cool unique venues. 
 

Tips for getting married in Dunedin? 

Just like anywhere, if you are planning on getting married outside have a backup plan. People are ok with a bit of rain and wind during a ceremony but nobody wants to freeze outside for a long period of time. Wee things like blankets, hotties, fire pits or outdoor heaters are all easy to get and make a huge difference. The weather can change so quickly here and the nights can be very, very cold.

What would your dream Dunedin wedding day look like?

Marquee weddings are my favourite, you can build colour, style and vibe from the ground up. It allows a unique look for any budget and the visual impact always shows well on camera. Having an early ceremony gives the couple more time for both couple photos on location and time to spend with guests and family, and really isn't that what the day is all about making memories together with your loved ones around.
 

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